Atomic force microscopy (AFM) study is used to measure the surface topology and roughness of radial and capture spider silks on the micro- and nanoscale. This is done for silks of the orb weaver spider Argiope keyserlingi. Capture silk has a surface roughness that is five times less than that for radial silk. The capture silk has an equivalent flatness of λ/100 (5–6 nm deep surface features) as an optical surface. This is equivalent to a very highly polished optical surface. AFM does show the number of silk fibers that make up a silk thread but geometric distortion occurs during sample preparation. This prevented AFM from accurately measuring the silk topology on the microscale in this study.
Copyright (2010) American Institute of Physics. This article may be downloaded for personal use only. Any other use requires prior permission of the author and the American Institute of Physics. The following article appeared in J. Appl. Phys. 108, 073509 (2010)and may be found at http://link.aip.org/link/doi/10.1063/1.3490220.